One Month One Camera – July 2020 (II) – The Luxury Of Simplicity

So this month I’m back on my One Month One Camera (OMOC) project, and the camera I’ve chosen is a Samsung GX-1S Pentax K mount DSLR.

You can read the intro post here.

Now in all honesty the little Samsung isn’t radically different from my other two Pentax K mount DSLRs with CCD sensors, the K100D and K-m.

Indeed the K100D I believe has the exact same 6MP sensor, and at a glance the cameras look identical.

The main differences I’ve noticed between the two under the hood are the lack of Shake Reduction (SR) on the Samsung.

The menus are very slightly altered, and the main screen of the K100D is more easily visible at wider angles, whereas the Samsung’s “whites out” if you look down on it from too acute an angle. Very minor.

Oh and the Samsung actually has a more comfortable grip – the rubber is softer and the way it curves vertically fits my hand even better than the K100D.

(That said, the K-m with its additional part cut out for your middle finger on the grip makes it better still, but now we’re getting into really fine detail!)

Anyone familiar with either the K100D or the Samsung GX-1S would easily be able to pick up the other and use 97% of the functions straight off.

The K100D is a camera I love for its small size and simplicity.

I like that it has a top LCD screen to show the basics like exposure compensation, aperture (on compatible lenses), shutter speed, battery level and shots remaining (usually around 300 and something with my secret memory trick 2GB SD card).

The GX-1S is exactly the same.

It just feels easier having these on top than having to tilt the camera to look at the main screen.

Because I’ve been almost entirely using M42 lenses this month (with an M42 to K mount adapter – get the official Pentax one that sits flush inside the camera’s mount), in practice all I’ve needed the top LCD for is exposure comp and shutter speed.

Then when I look through the viewfinder, I see shutter speed and shots remaining, and just press the exposure comp button on top just behind the shutter button, to check exposure comp in the viewfinder if needed.

After taking a shot, I check the image review on the main screen, and if I need the help of the histogram, press the play/review button and use the Info button to cycle through display modes – image only, image plus histogram, detailed info and round again.

It’s almost as simple as a point and shoot, but with the versatility of different lenses, the great depth of field and bokeh potential of 35mm lenses with a larger sensor (than compact cameras) and the more immersive experience of focusing and adjusting aperture manually as you look through the viewfinder (again compared with compact cameras and just looking at the rear screen while they auto focus).


And therein lies the joy of the Samsung GX-1S.

I’m not going to claim it’s exactly like shooting a vintage film camera with the Sunny 16 rule, like a Spotmatic or S1a.

But the absence of extraneous bells and whistles and modes and features make it about as close as you can get with a digital camera.

Add the compatibility with M42 lenses – which are exactly the same range of lenses as those I used to use on the Spotmatic and S1a bodies – and the experience draws even closer.

The stripped down simplicity wraps around to the other end of the scale and becomes almost a luxury.

A luxury perhaps, in the freedom from all those decisions you need to make every single shot with more sophisticated cameras.

For the rest of the month, it’s more of the same for me and the little Samsung.

A small selection of M42 lenses (especially the Petri CC Auto 55/1.8, Helios 44M-4 58/2 and MC Zenitar-M2s 50/2) and the simple pleasures of finding and capturing details I find beautiful.

How about you? How simple (or complex) do you like your cameras to be? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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3 thoughts on “One Month One Camera – July 2020 (II) – The Luxury Of Simplicity”

  1. I keep avoiding these 6MP cameras by telling myself that the 10MP CCD sensor is the sweet spot 🙂 And I think it is…
    I do like them simple. Even with my K-S1, I don’t ever feel the lack of the 2nd data wheel. With a manual lens on, I set the ISO as fixed, change the aperture with the aperture ring, and the shutter with the one data wheel… what else do you need to take pictures? And autofocusing is a delight…

    1. I think the 10MP sensor Pentax used was a very sweet spot indeed. But the 6MP is little different, there’s certainly nowhere near the difference between 6 and 10 you’d think. I’ve read a number of reviews that suggest that 6MP was/is about as good as most of us need. Beyond that you just get sucked into a numbers game without radical improvements in image. If I took the same pictures with the same lens, with a 6MP and 10MP CCD, I doubt I would be able to see any difference at all. I just like 6MP because the cameras are even simpler! The GX-1S is pretty much the optimum DSLR for me, though the near identical K100D (same sensor I believe) is equally ideal.

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